Near North District School Board (NNDSB) and Nipissing-Parry Sound Catholic District School Board (NPSCDSB) teachers donned hard hats and safety vests to get an eye-opening look into the world of mining at a recent professional development day.
The initiative, in collaboration with The Canadian Ecology Centre and Mining Matters, included a tour of Redpath Mining facilities in North Bay and an earth science and mineral resources instructional development workshop. The goal of the day’s activities was to bring awareness about how vast the mining industry is and how it has direct impacts on local industry and employment opportunities. Educators will then pass this knowledge along to their students.
Lesley Hymers, manager of outreach programs with Mining Matters said, “There is a lack of awareness of modern mining and the wide range of careers that are available in the sector. Skilled trades are in high demand in the mining industry. There are many opportunities for youth in the near north to work where they live or work abroad, earn a good living, and enjoy an outdoor lifestyle.
“There are more than 150 jobs in the mining industry including in the skilled trades, engineering, science and technology, construction, management, community and safety and environment and earth sciences,” Hymers said.
Kevin Baker, tech-ed instructor at Northern Secondary School, said he is interested in any opportunity to learn about career pathways for students.
“This particular opportunity focused on a leading industry in North Bay. Many people are unaware of how much mining is implanted in the North Bay area.
Baker feels that getting out in the community and learning about local businesses is important.
“It provides opportunities to develop community partnerships, enables us to learn of their needs, and helps us present and create material that our students may apply to future employment opportunities. I use what I learn from these opportunities to create projects and activities that enable students to develop skills our community needs.
“Currently, our workforce is experiencing a shortage of skilled tradespeople. I was a licensed journeyperson myself for 30 years before moving into teaching,” Baker said. “One of the reasons I turned to this profession was to teach about the trades and help students develop some of the transferable skills skilled trades workers use daily. Not all students want to pursue post-secondary educational pathways. The skilled trades provide directions for these students.”